I’ve studied through the slogans a dozen times in my life;
these are my musings on the slogan currently, what comes up on the day that
I am posting the slogan, not a formal interpretation.
For that reason they are less about straight Buddhist teachings,
and I think able to be shared with most practitioners of other faiths or no faith
(unless yours doesn’t allow you to read any other tradition.)
If you have time and the inclination, I published the WHOLE thang here!
“#44: Train in the three difficulties.”
I found both Trungpa’s and Pema Chodron’s interpretations of this so hard to understand, and struggled with this slogan all the while working it without knowing it.
It helped when I finally looked up the meaning of the word klesha: mental poison.
Training the in the three difficulties is working to change your mental poisons.
It is simple to say and hard to do.
1) You reflect on the things that make you an ass in your life.
YOUR stuff, not their stuff.
Yes, they may have their stuff, likely do, LOTS of it, but this is not about them ever.
2) You vow to figure out how to get over it — How can I change this?
Go into therapy, notice that maybe you learned some bad patterns from your family,
stop drinking and work the Twelve Steps, or just stop some dumb damn behavior.
I can’t comment on your stuff because I am not you, but you know what it is.
Most of us start with the big stuff because it makes US uncomfortable…
But eventually you move to the small stuff.
For instance, you stop telling him/her what s/he did all wrong when
they surprise you by cleaning the kitchen. You just stop. Zip it.
Enjoy the gift, the win, and allow them to enjoy you being happy about it.
You begin to understand that it really doesn’t matter if it isn’t done the way
you “know” it has to be done — and you let go of being a control freak.
Yes, maybe later you might have to say something if it is REALLY important.
Don’t put metal in the microwave is an example.
But otherwise, zip it. Watch how your lives change.
This is not easy. It is a huge commitment on your part to chip away at the mental poisons.
3) Don’t set yourself up with situations that enforce your mental poisons.
Yes, sometimes that is just life in general, when everything goes wrong —
and then you get to practice you training.
But for many poisons, you can nip it in the bud.
Don’t buy the cake at the market (gotta lost weight?),
don’t walk into the bar (drinking makes you unbearable?),
don’t go home for Christmas (you always get into fights and maybe you are not ready for that yet?), leave your credit card at home (getting into trouble with addictive shopping?).
It is good not to tempt yourself or set yourself up until you are ready for it.
Or never. Sometimes, you are never ready to confront some demons.
This all takes a deep commitment and there is a lot of failure along the path.
it is totally worth it to be able to look yourself in the mirror and not be the cause of pain.
Even if “they” never notice.
My family never noticed the changes.
But I am happier, and can release being the causation of pain.
I remember the feeling of watching a family fight that did not involve me at all…
I didn’t dip my toe into the fray, and while the fight still made me feel sad,
all that abandonment and lost possibility for shared joy,
I was glad not to be the center of the storm.
In this weekly commentary on the lojong, I am interested in hearing about
YOUR life or how the lojong affected you or your practice awakening in some manner.
For more info about why, go here.
OE or OKINA NOTEBOOKS (my favorite journals, also known as Cadic)
Okina Journal, with pen and ink,
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